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    Lithuanian troops along with the other troops from 11 NATO nations take part in the exercise in urban warfare during Iron Sword exercise in the mock town near Pabrade, Lithuania, December 2, 2016.

    Lithuania Welcomes Growing US Military Presence Near Russian Borders

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    Lithuania is expecting US military presence close to Russian borders to grow in the future, Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė said Friday.

    MUNICH (Sputnik) — Since 2014, NATO has been building up its military presence in Europe, particularly in eastern European countries bordering Russia, using Moscow's alleged interference in Ukraine's internal conflict as a pretext.

    Moscow has repeatedly voiced its protests against the NATO military buildup saying that will undermine regional stability and result in a new arms race.

    "For us, the security in our region is utmost on the agenda, and the presence of US troops on our soil is also important as deterrence element on our territories. It is clear that security on our continent cannot be fulfilled and guaranteed only by our increased financial resources and army reforms, but without the US it is impossible," Grybauskaitė said at the Munich Security Conference.

    "We expect that the presence and deterrence done by the US near the European frontier with Russia will be only increasing," Grybauskaitė stressed.

    During the last NATO summit in July, NATO resolved to strengthen its military presence in Eastern Europe on a rotational basis with four battalions in Poland and in the Baltic nations. During the 2014 summit, NATO established a 5,000-strong Very High Readiness Joint Task Force in response to the alleged Russian threat.

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